In my blog on the 16th June I talked about how HR should be looking to ‘step up’ to the top table and take a seat on the Board by developing visionary skills to deliver significant impact to the business.
This week I saw the all too familiar situation of HR playing the role of an inward focused cost centre with no realisation of how key their role could be to the organisation.
A consultant I know has been working with a leading retailer that has a high profile in the fashion industry. They operate 400+ stores across Australia with more than 20 leading brands. The consultant had been working in one major division that has a chain of 40 stores focused on high quality ladies clothing for the 25-40 year old middle to high income market.
This brand has suffered more than most, experiencing a high turnover of staff and a significant drop in sales as a result of no clear guidance or focus on the corporate vision and values. Employees are poorly motivated and are lacking in engagement. The low quality of customer service in the stores reflects this lack of engagement perfectly.
Recent reorganisation of senior management resulted in the replacement of the general manager, the regional sales manager and the divisional HR manager.
With these ‘new brooms’ there was a feeling of renewed optimism. The consultant expected the new team to quickly identify strategic areas to be addressed by aligning company values with performance measurement and KPIs to focus staff on quality of service, customer retention and employee competence and training, leading to an improvement in sales and a reduction in staff turnover.
So, it was with some surprise that the consultant was told by the new HR manager that this was not her priority and she would be looking at other areas of the business first.
As my acquaintance commented to me, what was likely to be more important than turning the business around?
With HR managers in positions of influence failing to make the strategic decisions is it any wondering that our retailers are suffering so much and HR continues to be viewed as a cost centre?
If you are an HR manger with a strategic vision for your business we should be talking to you. Call us on 03 9909 7411